News Coronavirus Race to trace Byron Bay case who ‘didn’t believe’ in coronavirus rules
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Race to trace Byron Bay case who ‘didn’t believe’ in coronavirus rules

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Victorians in regional towns are waking up to more freedoms as lockdown in those areas lifts while Melburnians are nervous about their ‘stay at home’ orders extending beyond Thursday.

Meanwhile, more regional New South Wales residents are facing their toughest restrictions yet as the Delta outbreak spreads beyond Greater Sydney.

It comes after people infected with COVID-19 travelled to Byron Bay and Tamworth.

Who knows where the infected man travelled?

The man who went to Byron Bay from Sydney – and who is now in hospital after testing positive – has given leaders the impression he did not “believe” in the virus or the importance of checking in using QR codes.

His case forced Byron Bay, Richmond Valley, Lismore and Ballina local government areas into lockdown.

But the NSW government has not yet been able to tell the public where the man had visited while he and two children spent days on the northern coast.

“He travelled from Sydney with two kids, staying up here in Byron, been out and about a fair amount in the time — it’s disappointing,” Byron Bay Mayor Michael Lyon told the ABC.

“We’re going through trying to list all exposure sites and work out where he’s been, and he hasn’t been signing in and using QR codes, any of that…doesn’t believe in it, it’s a nightmare.

“It’s been very difficult for police and health authorities to track down where he’s been, it’s ridiculous, you have to wonder what people are thinking when it comes to a situation like this.”

More than 80 per cent of the NSW population – about 6.5 million people – is now in lockdown.

New venues of concern were listed in Sydney and Newcastle on Monday night, along with ‘casual contact’ venues in 35 suburbs, but authorities have not been able to pinpoint Byron Bay locations until they get more information from the infected man.

They are also talking to a woman who travelled from Newcastle to Tamworth before Newcastle was included in the Hunter lockdown.

Outbreak could have crossed border

The Gold Coast is also on alert amid reports the man may have also travelled over the NSW border.

Also in Queensland, Cairns residents are sweating on tests that will reveal if COVID-19 is spreading in the tourist city.

Authorities are hoping for a dramatic lift in testing numbers after a Cairns taxi driver was linked to an earlier Delta variant case involving a local marine pilot.

The taxi driver wasn’t identified as a close contact until well after he drove the marine pilot to the Cairns airport.

The unvaccinated cabbie was infectious in the community for a total of 10 days, seven of them spent driving passengers around Cairns.

Since the driver tested positive on the weekend, contact tracers have been working overtime to ensure all his contacts are isolating.

Cairns and Yarrabah residents are currently subject to a three-day lockdown, which is due to end at 4pm on Wednesday if there’s no sign of further infections.

At the opposite end of the state, a cluster centred on Brisbane schools appears to be under control. All of the four new locally acquired cases reported on Monday were linked to the so-called Indooroopilly cluster.

All were in isolation for the whole of their infectious periods.

These Queensland exposure sites were named on Monday night:

  • Woolworths Raintrees in Manunda;
  • Cafe China in Parramatta Park;
  • Brothers League Club gaming lounge in Manunda;
  • Ramsey Pharmacy in Cairns.

The cases were at those locations while infectious in the past week.

  • Click here to check the dates and times of exposure

Mixed feelings and freedoms in Victoria

Regional Victoria’s lockdown is over and authorities have warned Melburnians against travelling out of the locked-down capital.

The state’s regional areas came out of lockdown at 11:59pm on Monday after no new COVID-19 cases were detected outside Melbourne, but some rules remain including a ban on home visits and compulsory mask-wearing.

Victoria Police has deployed about 200 more officers to patrol highways and backroads in a bid to crack down on motorists attempting to get through what in previous lockdowns was dubbed the ‘ring of steel’ around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.

This time, rather than setting up road blocks, police would be scanning number plates and making house calls to people suspected of illegally travelling to regional areas. Rule-breakers face a fine of over $5000.

Businesses that are open in regional Victoria but closed in Melbourne, such as restaurants and beauty salons, must check the IDs of customers.

Melbourne recorded 11 new local cases in the 24 hours to Monday morning, all linked to the Hobsons Bay outbreak. Ten of those people were in the community during their infectious period.

The number of exposure sites has grown to more than 220, including a local football match at Shorten Reserve in West Footscray which dates back to July 31 and is classified as tier one.

New ‘Tier 1’ exposure sites were listed late on Monday night, including a Bunnings, a laser clinic, a cafe, public toilets, bottle shops and a Woolworths supermarket.

They are in Altona North, Taylors Lakes, Bayswater North, Caroline Springs and Cairnlea.

  • Click here to see the full list of Victorian exposure sites